Enneagram Perceived Weaknesses are Actually Linked to Your Greatest Gifts
Several months ago, my therapist and I got on the subject of me caring “too much” about what other people think of me. I was beating myself up because I hate how much other people’s opinions (or perceived opinions) about me can really bother me. If I could just learn to not care so much and let it go, maybe I’d be healthier.
I envy my Enneagram 8 friends who just metaphorically throw up a middle finger at anyone who looks at them disapprovingly and walk away confidently like NOTHING HAPPENED.
Meanwhile, I can spin out in my head over what I did wrong and how I can fix it so that the person who doesn’t like me will come back around.
That’s when my therapist helped me realize that, maybe the fact that I care so much is actually linked to my Enneagram 9 strength of being compassionate, connecting with people, and understanding where people are coming from.
It’s like two sides of a coin: on one side, that “weakness” can be frustrating. But on the other side, that weakness helps us accomplish one of our greatest gifts.
If I didn’t care so much, it wouldn’t be easy for me to stick around and show compassion for anything and everything that person was going through. For that, I’m really grateful.
Two-sided Enneagram coins: How are some of our “weaknesses” linked to our greatest gifts?
Enneagram 1: If you weren’t so focused on how to make things better or “perfect,” you might not have as much ability to right wrongs and change things for the better. Your ability to fight for justice, pay attention to details, and fix things that need fixing is not something that everyone has.
Enneagram 2: If you weren’t so sensitive to how other people treated you, you might not have as much ability to gently care for people who need you. Your ability to be kind, compassionate, and anticipate the needs of others is not something that everyone has.
Enneagram 3: If you weren’t so invested in your work and achievements, you might not have as much of a positive influence on other people who need your motivation and inspiration. Your ability to chase after your dreams and reach your goals is not something that everyone has.
Enneagram 4: If you weren’t so aware of and in touch with your emotions, you might not have as much of an ability to be comfortable processing huge feelings. Your ability to recognize and deal with sadness, anger, grief, and other “negative” emotional experiences in yourself AND in others, is not something everyone has.
Get stuck in emotions | Ability to be comfortable with and process huge feelings
Enneagram 5: If you weren’t so careful about making mistakes or afraid of not knowing the answer, you might not have as much of an ability to make highly sound judgements. Your ability to find logical and correct solutions especially in difficult situations is not something everyone has.
Enneagram 6: If you weren’t so prone to weighing your options and re-thinking your decisions before you make them, you might not have as much of an ability to avoid negative outcomes. Your ability to take your time and assess consequences is not something everyone has.
Enneagram 7: If you weren’t so enticed by change or motivated to try new things, you might not have as much of an ability to enrich your own life and inspire others to do the same. Your ability to be adventurous and seek new experiences is not something everyone has.
Enneagram 8: If you weren’t known as someone who doesn’t back down, you might not have as much of an ability to stand up and fight for people in need. Your ability to be bold, seek justice, and protect people you love is not something everyone has.
Enneagram 9: If you weren’t as easily affected by other people’s opinions and attitudes, you might not have as much of an ability to extend unconditional compassion to other people. Your ability to see all sides of a situation and connect with people who often struggle to connect, is not something everyone has.
Reframing “weaknesses” is not the same as justifying bad behavior.
There is a fine line between saying, “It’s a good thing I get my feelings hurt so easily,” and saying, “If I wasn’t sensitive, I wouldn’t be able to care for people as well.”
The trick here is to be able to use these true things about ourselves for good. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work on being able to live with these truths in a more healthy way.
For example, instead of saying, “I get my feelings hurt, so everyone should tip-toe around me.” Try re-framing that to, “I’m aware of my sensitivities and I will work toward communicating my emotions with people who hurt my feelings so that we can protect the relationship.” It’s all about perspective!
If you’re a therapist or mental health professional looking to integrate more concepts like this into your practice, I have a course for that! I teach it several times per year. Check now to see if registration for my next session is currently open!